Multiple fire and police units responded to the incident, located at 726 Probandt St. near the vacant Lone Star Brewery, at 1:36 p.m. after reports of dark smoke passed over the Southtown area due to high winds.
“There was metal burning,” SAFD Spokesman Woody Woodward said in a phone interview. “We had Hazmat on the scene but they determined that there was nothing dangerous (burning).”
Debora Lund, who lives on Probandt Street in a house facing the plant, said she awoke from a nap choking on the air in her house. She then walked outside and saw the smoke. Lund said that she has lived in the area for two or three years and that these incidents happen on a regular basis.
“This happens once a month or sometimes every other week,” she said. “People are dropping off steel and propane tanks, and with this heat, when they smash it, they don’t check what it is first, and it’ll sound like a bomb going off.”
Lund said that many area residents have grown used to the explosions, but that neighbors are still frustrated when it happens. More frustrating, she said, was that no public safety officials had come to inform neighbors of details regarding the incident Friday.
Approximately five fire trucks responded and left one by one as the fire was put out. Around 10 police units were at the scene blocking off the 500 and 600 blocks of Probandt Street to thru traffic.
Lund said that while these incidents are frequent, this level of emergency response was unusual.
“There will be huge explosions and nobody comes around,” Lund said. “To see the police and fire (department) is funny because it happens often, huge explosions, and nobody comes around. This is the first time there’s been this much interest.”
The incident comes as the area is awaiting the redevelopment of the adjacent Lone Star Brewery site. The neighborhood is also seeing increasing interest from residential developers building new apartment complexes and houses nearby.
Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) arrived at the scene to speak with concerned residents and to address the media.
“It is my understanding that the fire (was not toxic),” Gonzales said. “I was under the impression that (CMC Recycling) was not operating anymore, but I was told by a resident that they still are. I believe they have a contract to move locations soon.”
CMC Recycling could not be reached for comment on the fire or contract before time of publication.
Top Image: Smoke fills the air at CMC Recycling located at 726 Probandt Street. Photo by Scott Ball.